Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

Agricultural College Fund

The Agricultural College Fund was established with a land grant pursuant to an 1862 act of Congress known as the “Morrill Act”. The law provided that each state was entitled to receive 30,000 acres of land for each member of Congress representing the state. Wisconsin had eight Congressional representatives, so received title to 240,000 acres of land.

Proceeds from the sale of these lands were to be invested in a perpetual endowment fund to support “colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts” in each of the states—our nation’s land-grant colleges.

This Summary of Trust Assets provides an overview of the origins, investments, earnings, and distributions of all four Trust Funds, including the Agricultural College Fund.

Principal

These lands were sold shortly after Wisconsin obtained title, and no provision was made for adding to the principal. Therefore, the principal balance of the Agricultural College Fund does not change from year to year.

Beneficiary

Fund earnings are distributed to the University of Wisconsin annually.